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Why High Blood Pressure is a Health Concern?

Bidisha Mukherjee Aug 1, 2020
Blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is spreading across the globe like an epidemic. In this article we have tried to figure out why high blood pressure has become a major health problem.
When the heart pumps blood to circulate it all over the body, a specific amount of force is exerted on the vessels. It is this pressure that is known as blood pressure. When a person has high blood pressure, the heart makes extra efforts for proper circulation of the blood.
As a result, sufficient amount of blood may not reach the vital organs of the body. Decrease in oxygen supply prohibits normal functioning of these organs.

Effects of Hypertension

Arteries

Hypertension causes substantial damage to the inner lining of the arteries and can make the flexible arteries of the body, thick and stiff. This condition is known as arteriosclerosis. When dietary fats get absorbed into the blood and move through the arteries with damaged cells, they get collected on the walls of the arteries and narrow down the passage, thus causing atherosclerosis.
Due to continuous exertion of high pressure on the damaged blood vessels, walls of the arteries bulge out. This is called aneurysm and it may result in breaking up of the artery walls and cause internal bleeding. These three forms of damage in the arteries can result in certain serious health consequences.

Heart

It adversely affects the heart's health. With an increase in the blood pressure, the heart muscles have to work very hard to carry out their activities. They, in turn, get tensed and weak, and are unable to function properly. The improper functioning of heart muscles may prove fatal, as they can cause heart failure. Also, the extra pressure makes the heart's left ventricle large and stiff. This reduces the capacity of the heart to pump blood.
Thus, the risk of a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest resulting in death, is increased. Coronary artery disease narrows down the passage of those arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the heart muscles. Thus, the free flow of blood becomes difficult and gives rise to pain in the chest muscles (called angina).
Sometimes, blood flow through the arteries can be completely or partially blocked due to atherosclerosis. As a result, irregular heart rhythms (or arrhythmias) or heart attacks may occur. The chances of a severe heart attack are more in those people, who have hypertension.

Brain

Like any other organ of our body, proper functioning of the brain is dependent on the nutrients supplied through the blood. When blood pressure rises to an uncontrollable extent, it not only weakens or damages the blood vessels, but also causes blood clots in the arteries of the brain. Due to these clots, supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain decreases and the brain cells die.
This condition is known as a stroke. Furthermore, in a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also known as mini stroke, blood supply to the brain is temporarily disrupted due to atherosclerosis. Dementia is a form of brain disease in which thinking, reasoning, vision, and movements are affected because of blockage or narrowing down of the arteries.

Kidneys

The main function of the kidneys is to throw out the waste material from the body. There are tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, which are known as glomeruli. They are responsible for filtering the fluid and waste present in our blood. High blood pressure can render them ineffective and lead to a type of kidney damage known as glomerulosclerosis.
Similarly, when arteries that lead to the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys fail to filter out the unwanted material from the bloodstream and this is termed as kidney failure. Accumulation of these substances in the blood is a serious health concern.
Sometimes, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be required to treat this health condition. Another kidney disorder that arises due to high blood pressure is kidney (renal) artery aneurysm, which is the formation of a bulge on the weakened artery wall.
The biggest problem is that high blood pressure does not have any signs and symptoms from which it can be detected. It can be diagnosed only when the blood pressure of a person is checked to identify other health problems.